An Inspirational Story: Lost in Paradise

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

As Stacy was sitting in her rocking chair on her front porch that overlooked rolling hills and immense beauty, she often felt like her life was missing something, which was why she loved getting lost in the pages of adventure novels whenever she had downtime from work. She loved the imagination that authors possessed to whisk her away to a more adventurous life through their words. But today, not even this erased the feeling of emptiness that gnawed at her soul, a yearning for greater meaning in her life.

Stacy got up from her little piece of paradise, deciding to go into town to treat herself to a latte and a treat at her favorite coffee shop. She loved having Mondays off from work because places she liked to frequent were much quieter and more peaceful. As she ordered her specialized latte, she included a chocolate éclair that seemed to be calling out to her. While waiting for her latte, she sat down at a quaint little table, pulled out her mobile phone, and began to scroll when she suddenly received a text from one of her closest friends. “Stacy, you have to read this! I think it was written for you!” A link was included and Stacy clicked on it. It brought her to a Bible devotional, and since her friend sent it to her, she decided to read it. It was about discontentment. “How interesting…that is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately,” she mumbled to herself.

The devotional was a blend of insightful reflections, a story of hope, and verses from the Bible that resonated deeply. One passage from Jeremiah 31:3 read, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” It was as if God was speaking to her at that moment. And then she read 1 Peter 5:6-7 which touched her deeply. It said, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” These words seemed to vanquish her negative thoughts and feelings and bring her peace. She was pleasantly surprised and instantly subscribed to this devotional with excitement to read the next one.

Days turned into weeks as Stacy faithfully read her daily devotional. With each passing page, she felt a transformation taking place within her. The sense of emptiness that had been haunting her was quickly replaced with a newfound sense of purpose and joy. It was as if the devotional’s words were a soothing balm for her soul, guiding her toward self-discovery and a deeper connection with her faith. She thanked her friend again and again for sending the devotional to her and rewarded her friend by finally accepting her invitation to church.

One Sunday morning, Pastor Jake was preaching on the critical importance of community being more than just attending church, but being in a small group where Christians grow together in discovering and growing in their faith. As Stacy listened to his words, she instantly knew she couldn’t keep this treasure to herself. Just as the devotional had brought light into her life, she wanted to share it with others. She searched for and talked with the Small Groups pastor immediately after the service and asked permission to lead one sharing Bible devotionals together. He encouraged Stacy to do so and helped her establish the group. The response was surprisingly wonderful. Seven other women came the first time out, and every one of them returned and became a part of the group. Stacy was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for all of these changes to her life. She cried tears of joy almost every time she tried to express her thanks to God.

One morning as she was reading her devotional, it focused on the verse Proverbs 11:25: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” It was like a light went on inside of her. “My refreshing began with this devotional I love so much. I’ve never once written to the author of the devotional to thank him or to give any kind of support for something that has so profoundly contributed to all the changes in my life.”  At that moment, she stopped and wrote to him and gave him a significant gift praying it would contribute to others being as encouraged as she was. It instantly filled her heart with great joy!

Stacy’s story reminds us that God is always reaching out to us in multiple ways to speak into our lives, desiring to ignite a profound journey of intimacy through Jesus, transformation, and enrichment. Just as her friend was used by God to share the daily devotional that touched her soul, we too can take risks in sharing God’s word with others so that they may experience the love of God in their lives. Through acts of kindness and sharing, we can enrich not only our own lives but the lives of countless others, living in the words of Philippians 2:4: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”

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In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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